Alan Ritchson stars as Aquaman in Smallville episode: Patriot
Popular DC Comics character Aquaman (Alan Ritchson) returns with his new wife Mera (Elena Satine) on this Friday's Tom Welling directed episode of Smallville. The episode, titled Patriot, will also feature Battlestar Galactica's Michael Hogan as the villain Col. Slade.
In an effort to protect the rest of the team, Oliver (Justin Hartley) decides to register for the Vigilante Registration Act to see what the government plans to do with the new law. As he suspected, it was a trap to lure superheroes to an undisclosed location where he is confined to a jail and subjected to a battery of brutal tests under the supervision of Col. Slade (guest star Michael Hogan). Aquaman (guest star Alan Ritchson) and his new wife Mera (guest star Elena Satine) team up with Clark (Tom Welling) to free Oliver. Lois, in the meantime, is frustrated when Clark continues to push aside her offers to help the team and sets out to prove she can play along with the big boys.
We recently caught up with Aquaman himself to find out more about this upcoming episode, which airs this Friday on the CW at 8/7 central, and to learn the future of this fan favorite character. Here is our conversation with Alan Ritchson:
Since the last time we saw Arthur, he got married to Mera. Will this upcoming episode explain how they met? And is Mera similar to her character in the comics or is she a little bit different?
Alan Ritchson: I can't speak to her relevance in the comic books, specifically. I am not familiar enough with her story and its origins. I can't touch on that. But we do definitely touch on how they met. How they work together. And why they work so well. But this episode really isn't about that. Its about the present situation in Smallville, and it is focused on that present. We touch on their relationship. The episode starts off with us seeing them together. And we basically go from there.
Are there any references to Mera's classic tiara in the episode?
Alan Ritchson: I don't believe so. No.
Since first playing Aquaman in season five, have you followed the character in the current comic books at all? Especially with what has happened to Aquaman in the past few years since we last saw Arthur on Smallville?
Alan Ritchson: Not in the past few years, no. I did read all of the literature I could find on Aquaman, and his stories prior to season five. Doing my research for the role then, I read everything that there was. I read a fair share then, but I haven't kept up with him currently. Not with the more modern comics on him.
After being absent for a few years, are you able to reach back and pull from that vast knowledge in returning this iconic character to the screen?
Alan Ritchson: We try to. Being on TV, it's hard to do everything that he does. Because a lot of that takes place somewhere else. Being that this is a newer story on land, that he is involved with, it's harder to bring in a lot of the earlier elements of Aquaman. Its also required us to...Not fabricate, but bend some of the elements of his abilities to make this character work on land. To make it work a little bit more. To make him a little more relevant. It's interesting. It's a reference point for us. But there is also a little bit of freedom that we take with the character on the show.
When we last saw Arthur at the beginning of season 8, he severed his ties with the rest of the Justice League because their identities had become compromised. Will this episode explain where Arthur has been since then? And what he has been doing? Also, how does he feel about Oliver going public with his identity, and the aftermath that it has caused?
Alan Ritchson: Again, we are going to touch on that. But there isn't going to be a huge backstory on any of his stuff. With Mera or where he has been. We are going to reference that. We will explain a little bit about what has been going on. Again, it's more present to the story. We pick up and go. Its like, "Aquaman is here. Lets just do this!" You will see a little bit of that. AC has always been an island. He is a very fiery individually. Very passionate. He is going to do whatever it takes to back his passions, regardless of whom he gets around him. You will still see that today. By nature, he is a good person. He wants good to succeed. His ways of going about that are different than others. I don't think that he cares about what the Green Arrow is doing, or what Clark is doing, or anybody else. If they can help him, and he can help them by furthering his own agenda, I think he will do so. But he is such a unique character in his individuality. That is what you are going to see on screen.
The episode features Col. Slade, played by Michael Hogan. Is this Slade Wilson, "Deathstroke the Terminator", the classic Teen Titans villain from the comics? We understand that character will be in a few upcoming episodes, what do you know about his arc? And how similar is the character to the one from the comics? Does he still wear the mask and use the sword and shotgun? Or is this character sort of the origin version of the one we know?
Alan Ritchson: (Laughs) I have no idea. He is an awesome character. He definitely could be The Terminator. He was pretty scary to me. But I don't know. I didn't look into that character's background at all. I'm not sure what I can say on his story arc. I hesitate to give away too much. As for right now, I can say that Col. Slade has an agenda. He seems to be working alone to support that at this point. He is going forward with what he wants to do with his plans, and he will do whatever it takes to get that accomplished. He has got some pretty sinister plans. I think that is as far as I will go with his storyline. I don't want to give away too much. As far as the sword and the shotgun? I think he is more of an origin incarnation.
Patriot revolves around Arthur and Mera joining forces with Clark to save Oliver. Can you talk about the relationship between Oliver and Arthur? What does this "friendship" with Clark and Oliver mean to Arthur? Does the camaraderie of the "Super Friends" drive the emotion in this episode?
Alan Ritchson: I think AC has always had a fondness for his counterparts, in that they share similar ambitions. But they all have their own paths. There are many paths to the same solution, and I think that he recognizes that, and can appreciate that. But he will do whatever it takes to accomplish his own goals. That is synonymous with their friendship. They will support each other if need be. They also don't want to see the demise of the other person. They will help each other when they need to. It's interesting when they get in a fix, they will pull together. They really seem to get the job done well together. We are starting to see the camaraderie of the Super Friends build. All of those elements are really coming together. I think that is where this is going. I hope to see a lot more of it.
On that note, is there talk of turning the Super Friends into a live action series once Smallville is all over and done with? Is that where this could all possibly lead to?
Alan Ritchson: That has definitely come up. It has been coming up for years. I think, as with anything these days, it really comes down to money. How much would it cost to produce a show like that? There isn't an Aquaman series on TV right now, though they had been planning on it. Again, it's an extremely expensive story to tell. Anytime you have superheroes and special effects, and big action sequences, that stuff costs a lot of money. If you could do the Super Friends for the same cost as a sitcom, there is no question. You would see it on TV already. But I think that is the hold up. As far as I can tell. They realize that there is a huge audience asking for it. If they can find a way to deliver it, they will.
Its interesting. Today, the rumor came out that Warner Bros. is planning a live-action Batman series. And Wonder Woman is in the works. Do you think that if either of those moved forward, we'll continue seeing some of the characters from Smallville inhabit those shows?
Alan Ritchson: I haven't heard any talks of that. I mean, it's always a possibility. But it's also a very real possibility that they can establish their own new versions of these characters on their own shows. Will they cross-pollinate our characters? I don't know...It's always a possibility. People don't like to find these characters, because its difficult to find actors that can really pull these roles off. They are unique types to find. I know that the fans would prefer it. "We already have Aquaman established on Smallville. Lets just use him over here." It's a possibility. But I have no idea.
Its kind of awesome in a way, because each of these individual characters, such as yourself, and Jason with Green Arrow, and Hawkman, have their own individual, hardcore fanbase. And the fans certainly want to see you guys stick around after Smallville goes off the air...
Alan Ritchson: Yeah, that is just a compliment to the actor. A guy like Justin Hartley is extremely talented. He does a great job with his character. I think its great that the fans appreciate him and his work. I think all of the actors do a great job of pulling these characters off.
If they couldn't find the budget to do a weekly series, do you think they'd still bring back the Justice League, or the Super Friends in a series of two-hour TV movies?
Alan Ritchson: (Laughs) Like I said, I would definitely like to continue playing Aquaman. Playing a superhero is a lot of fun. Creating these stories is a lot of fun. I do what I love. And what I love is entertaining people. This is a great forum for entertainment. The audience just appreciates it so much. How could you not want to be involved in this community? And be a part of it. It is so much fun. However it manifests itself in the future, if I get to have any part in that, I would be very fortunate to be a part of it again.
Tom Welling directed this upcoming episode. Having worked with him for so many years as an actor, what was it like to see him on the other side?
Alan Ritchson: It was fantastic. He has always been a very giving actor. That translates really well into his directing. He is a super nice guy. Very laid back. He is not pretentious at all. He is just a great guy. Coming from the acting world, he knows how to talk to an actor. He knows how to get what he wants. He knows how to get the best product, and the best performances, for the screen. This was a lot of fun.
Will you be appearing in any more episodes before the end of the series? Or is this episode a sweet goodbye for Arthur?
Alan Ritchson: I can't say for sure. I haven't received an official offer to come back, or anything. But I have heard the murmurs that the JLA will come together. I believe that he would be a part of that. I would love to come back. I can't say for sure just yet.
And is there any word that you might be working with Zack Snyder in the immediate future?
Alan Ritchson: (Laughs) I don't know for sure. We'll know when that day comes.